4G

EE today announced a handful of new 4G plans that share the goal in offering customers with greater choice when it comes to 4G plans. Currently the UK mobile network operator is still the only provider of 4G in the UK, which is set to continue until spring 2013 when remaining UK operators will be able to launch respective upgrades. So what are the new plans at EE like?

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The Three UK Twitter team has revealed company plans to stock the Lumia 920 in the future, which is currently exclusive to EE. This follows a detailed blog post by Vodafone who have stated they intend to offer the Nokia flagship Windows Phone in early 2013. We expect both network operators (among others) to start shipping Lumia 920s when the green light for 4G is given.

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EE, the only UK carrier to be rolling out LTE services, has announced plans to have a further 17 new towns and cities using its 4G network by March 2013. The next generation of mobile data connectivity will be switched on in Bradford, Chelmsford, Coventry, Doncaster, Dudley, Leicester, Luton, Newport, Reading, Rotherham, St Albans, Sunderland, Sutton Coldfield, Walsall, Watford, West Bromwich and Wolverhampton.

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EE, the only UK carrier to launch 4G LTE services thus far, has unleashed its SIM-only plans. Pricing starts at £21 a month with a 500MB data allowance, and tops at £36 for a 5GB upgrade to further increase the capabilities of the 4G speeds. So are these prices any better than what's already available at the carrier?

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We received an interesting email today from unlocked-mobiles.com who have informed me that there will in fact be two variants of the Nokia Lumia 820 on sale in the UK. Most retailers will be selling the 3G version but the stock coming into unlocked-mobiles.com are 4G enabled.

So what does this mean for us consumers? Currently if you are looking to jump on the UK 4G LTE bandwagon you only have one carrier option at the moment and that is with EE. All the other UK carriers will have 4G in the near future but many of us smartphone geeks want the fastest connection as soon as possible. We have tested out the EE 4G speeds as you have seen and getting the new service in the UK is like a breath of fresh air, but it also comes at a cost.

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One could easily turn this into a hate-filled rant at EE, but we'll remain calm with a cup of tea in one hand and the crumpet in the other. According to a press release sent out this morning (crossing over Nokia incidentally), EE announced its UK 4G plans, and what it will be charging consumers to make use of the extra speeds offered by the UK's first LTE network.

Now don't get us wrong, we expected a slight jump in pricing due to the exclusivity held by EE on the improved network speed, but what has been revealed by the company is almost mind boggling. 

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We're at the Everything Everywhere (now 'EE') presentation for its announcement of the UK's first LTE network. The company, unveiling its new brand, will be putting EE alongside Orange and T-Mobile to offer consumers a choice of three established names to choose from for unique deals, extras and performance.

Using existing infrastructure, the LTE 4G rollout for the UK is expected to be complete by 2015 with 70% going live by the end of 2013 and 98% in 2014. The transition of both the brand and LTE network begins today, and four cities are having their LTE 'turned on' as we write - London, Birmingham, Cardiff and Bristol. 

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Update: As pointed out in comments, these could be Nokia's Asha phones (305 and 306) which are just hitting the market. The smaller battery and dual-SIMs give credence to that notion, although Nokia often recycles a lot, including battery types to reduce costs.

Despite Windows Phone 7.x devices looking all but DOA for new launches, a few phones have popped up on the FCC that has caught our attention. At this point, we can’t really believe that (a) these are still WP7.x devices or (b) they will launch anytime soon. That means we may be looking at some Windows Phone 8 devices or these are formalities for other reasons (lots of phones get FCC certs without ever being picked up).

First up is of course Nokia (you can read about ZTE’s phone here). They have two devices, RM-844 and RM-852, which are making their way through the FCC. Both devices look to be the same model but RM-852 appears to be destined for Canada with dual-SIMs while RM-844 looks to be for, wait for it, T-Mobile. We're assuming they are Windows Phones due to Nokia's commitment to the platform but there's nothing conclusive in the documents.

The reason we’re looking at T-Mobile of course is due to the bands being tested: GSM 850 / WCDMA 850, GSM 1900 / WCDMA 1900,  WCDMA 1700 / LTE 1700.  Let’s step back a bit: AT&T uses the 700 MHz band for its LTE service while T-Mobile will be using 1700/2100 band for its 4G LTE network which is not due to until 2013.  T-Mobile also uses 850 and 1900 MHz bands. [Note: these still could be used by AT&T though, so it's a bit confusing with so little to worth with]

That’s not a slam dunk of a prediction but if T-Mobile wants to come out with a new Windows Phone 8 Nokia device in late 2012 (when WP8 is expected to launch), it makes sense to have it "LTE-ready" even if that network will still be in its infancy. Then again, we could be reading too deeply into things here but we think that’s a safe bet for now.

We shouldn’t be too surprised though if T-Mobile is going to aggressively push a Nokia 4G LTE Windows Phone, after all they have to compete against AT&T some way and with Verizon on board with WP8, it will be an interesting fall for new devices. Windows Phone 8 is expected to have HD displays (720x1280), dual-cores CPUs, NFC, expandable SD storage and other tidbits which should make them highly desirable for consumers.

Did we miss anything in the FCC docs? Let us know in comments…

Source: FCC (RM544, RM-852); via Engadget

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It's official, Telstra has announced the HTC TITAN 4G, which will be the first Windows Phone to make use of the faster network speeds. After weeks (if not months) of speculation and anticipation from Australian Windows Phone fans, the carrier has finally released details surrounding the HTC monster device. It's actually the HTC TITAN II that launched in the U.S., but will be branded as the HTC TITAN 4G.

This is great news for those who are awaiting for a 4G Windows Phone as this beast of a smartphone not only packs 4G speeds, but a 16MP camera, which we positively reviewed. Will Irving, Group Managing Director, Telstra Business comments:

"Windows Phone fans will soon be able to surf the mobile web, respond to email and access work documents faster than before on the HTC Titan4G – Australia’s first 4G Windows Phone which launches next Tuesday on the Telstra Mobile Network.” In a clear pitch to business users and enterprise customers. Australian small businesses have embraced smartphones to help them work where they want and to stay responsive to customers and new business opportunities.

The launch of the nation’s first 4G Windows Phone means small businesses can perform even more advanced tasks from the palms of their hands – like handling larger emails on the go, capturing and sending high-resolution images and video  and accessing emerging cloud-hosted services direct from their smartphone screen.  Best of all, Windows Phone is incredibly easy to navigate and immediately familiar to anyone who uses Microsoft’s popular Office software."

So we know it's the bees-knees, what about pricing? You can get your own for free on the $79 Freedom Connect plan (after using an included MRO bonus), which includes $800 worth of voice calls and MMS, unlimited SMS and 2GB data. The phone will be available outright for $888, should plans not be up your street.

Business customers can pick up the TITAN 4G for just $8/mo after using their MRO bonus on the $70 Business Mobile Advantage plan (24 months). This includes unlimited SMS, free voice calls to eligible mobiles, and 1GB data. 

Source: WPDownUnder

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Although the Samsung Focus 2 coming on AT&T is not the most exciting phone out there for our more hardcore users, the device is certainly a looker with the glossy white and curved edges.

Microsoft's Ben Rudolph got his hands on the device about a week ago and gives it a thumbs up, noting that the 4G LTE and sharp 5MP camera make the device a good choice for many people. With a leaner design, typing is suppose to be nicer with no "hotspots" for hand-cramping and the 4" Super AMOLED screen should hold up nicely for most users these days, especially at a nicely priced $49.99.

In turn, he's thrown up a couple of photos of the new Focus 2 which shows off a nice design and we can even compare it to the original Focus.  Head to the Windows Phone Blog to see more pics.

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In late 2011, one of the sticking points for Verizon Wireless in broadly adopting Windows Phone was the lack of 4G LTE support. AT&T also took issue with this missing feature as strategically they are looking to offload network congestion to their new high-speed spectrum.

There was just one problem: the Windows Phone OS was not set to get LTE support till Windows Phone 8 aka "Apollo" in late in 2012.  That's a long wait as six to nine months in smartphones is an eternity these days, especially when you're in a distant third in the smartphone race.

So how are we on the cusp of not one but two LTE Windows Phones in early 2012? We're told AT&T approached and asked them if they could bump up that feature set earlier. Microsoft in turn was receptive to such a request, much like how Microsoft Corporate VP Joe Belfiore or Brandon Watson take great strides to carefully listen to you, the customer.

To get support into the OS, Microsoft reportedly took members off of Apollo and re-appointed them to work on LTE for Mango Refresh (RC2) in order to meet market demands. Throw in Qualcomm, who has worked hard with Microsoft on chipset compatibility and Nokia, HTC and Samsung who were all eager to get more high end devices in the US and you have AT&T's new 4G Windows Phone lineup launching earlier than planned.

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WPDownUnder has reported that Telstra staff have received confirmation of the HTC TITAN II making its way to the Australian shores and onto the network. With the Lumia 800 being stocked at multiple sources across the country, as well as on Telstra itself, the situation is starting to pick up with regards to available hardware.

At an event last night, it was revealed that the HTC TITAN II (as well as another unnamed Android 4G handset) will be launching on Telstra this coming April. Even some lucky members of staff attending the event got the chance to take home a Lumia 800 with door prizes being handed out. 

WPDownUnder expects the TITAN II to be available on the $79 /mo Freedom Connect plan, using the MRO bonus (no handset fee), and would total $1896 across the 24 month contract. Although, the site notes that should the HTC Velocity be anything to go by, then the TITAN II may also be available on the cheaper $59 plan, with a $5 /mo MRO free, totalling $1536.

What's more is that Nokia has reported that they're still in talks surrounding the introduction of the 4G international Lumia 900, which would further strengthen Australia's range of Windows Phones. Who would have thought last year that we would be seeing prosperous moves from both Microsoft and manufacturers in Australia?

Source: WPDownUnder; thanks Sheeds for the tip!

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Three UK has announced plans to implement "4G" on their network, but instead of putting LTE on trial, for now the carrier is favouring DC-HSPA (the DC means dual-channel). In theory customers should be able to witness speeds up to 42Mbps, and with Three's "unlimited" data plans this will certainly excite smartphone owners.

Three currently operates a HSPA+ network that offers speeds of up to 21Mbps and is set to roll out DC-HSPA this coming summer. What's interesting to note is the timing of this announcement with the international Lumia 900 (supporting the "almost 4G" standard) being announced at MWC this week - coincidence?

Three still plans to introduce LTE through testing in the future so we'll happily take DC-HSPA for now.

Via: Slashgear; 4G image via Shutterstock

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The Lumia 710, a budget low cost Windows Phone, has been featured in an article over at Yahoo! recommending good free smartphones (tied to carrier terms). There are six handsets in total: iPhone 3G, LG Phoenix, Droid Pro, LG Enlighten, LG Rumor Touch and the Nokia Lumia 710

As noted in the article, the 710 sports 4G connectivity, a 1.4Ghz chip, 3.7" screen, 5MP camera and the latest version of the Windows Phone OS. Looking at the other competitor handsets, it illustrates just how aggressive Nokia is with pricing their Lumia family of smartphones.

Soruce: Yahoo!thanks soulzero for the heads up!

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Nokia has recently sold 450 patents to Sisvel, an italian Intellectual property manager. Of those, 350 patents spanning across 33 families encapsulate key wireless technologies like GSM, UMTS/WCDMA, and LTE. Although Nokia nor Sisvel are going into details of the deal, it's expected that Nokia will retain the rights to use these patents, and likely collect on some of the ongoing royalties, but Sisvel will likely get a cut of royalties in exchange for actively protecting the patents in the courtroom. 

It might seem natural that Nokia hold onto these patents with an iron fist and squeeze every penny-worth of royalties out of them, but legal costs can add up; by incentivizing an outside source to do the trolling while possibly still getting some of the royalties themselves, Nokia will be able to focus their resources (both legal and monetary) on Windows Phone. It will be interesting to see how aggressive Sisvel is in protecting the patents, and if they're able to lock down any big licensing deals that Nokia wasn't able to. The last big case Nokia won was against Apple, so I have a hard time imagining that Nokia has left any stone unturned. 

Source: IntoMobile

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The 2012 Consumer Electronics Show has started with a roar. AT&T holds an annual developer summit that leads into the CES show. To our surprise, AT&T's President and CEO Ralph de la Vega was joined by several Windows Phone dignitaries.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, HTC CEO Peter Chou, and Nokia's CEO Stephen Elop joined de la Vega to announce that AT&T will be bringing the first 4G LTE Windows Phones to the U.S. Market. AT&T will start by offering two phones that are 4G LTE capable, the HTC Titan II and what we all expect to be the Nokia Lumia 900.

Describing how the 4G LTE network performs on the HTC Titan II, Peter Chou stated it was "Blazingly fast".  No pricing or availability information was announced on either of the pending 4G LTE devices.

While nothing specific was mentioned about the upcoming AT&T Nokia Windows Phone, Stephen Elop referred everyone to Nokia's afternoon press event for all the details on this new Windows Phone. We'll be in attendance and bring you all the news as soon as we can.

Source: AT&T

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